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UnequalProductions
02-24-2015, 10:26 AM
My writing partner sent me this yesterday as we prep for staffing meetings.

https://twitter.com/nuccbko/status/569974911134859264

There's got to be better advice than "act sane." It reminds me of people whose dating advice is "be yourself." Oh, I was totally going to go into this date/showrunner and pretend to be James Bond. Thank God I talked to you first.

And seriously, are 1/2 of staffing meetings people coming in wearing rainbow wigs or screaming about the Jews who run Hollywood? Why do they feel the need to tell writers to "act sane?"

Is there any real advice people have for staffing meetings? You know, with the knowledge that I know how to go through an hour meeting making intelligent conversation without wetting myself.

ProfessorChomp
02-24-2015, 03:18 PM
The interview is really an audition for someone the showrunners will want to spend endless hours sitting around a table with, so be mellow and funny and nice. They already like your writing or you wouldn't be in the room.

Think about directions the show & characters could go. If it's a mystery show, for instance, come up with a compelling theory about who the killer could be. You don't have to be right, it's more about the thought process you used to get there. Good luck!!

omjs
02-24-2015, 03:46 PM
I just recently started listening to the Children of Tendu podcast based on somebody's recommendation here, and they address this pretty directly in Episode 3 (http://childrenoftendu.libsyn.com/episode-3-staffing-season). The whole podcast is really interesting, though.

ducky1288
02-24-2015, 05:12 PM
I think "act sane" is the vague Twitter answer, but even acting sane isn't enough. You've got to stand out among possibly 10-20 other writers trying to get that spot.

I like to think of it as, "be the best version of yourself." Don't be fake and pretend to be someone you're not because they'll sniff it out. But going in and being mediocre won't do you any favors.

There's no real science to it but the meeting matters a ton. Material gets you in the room, great meetings get you in the mix, and referrals get you the job.

artisone
02-28-2015, 11:13 PM
The advice Glen Mazzara gives in the WGA's Writer Access Program is to go in and position yourself as a resource for the showrunner to mine for stories. It's not just about being likable or the writing.

UnequalProductions
03-02-2015, 10:01 AM
The advice Glen Mazzara gives in the WGA's Writer Access Program is to go in and position yourself as a resource for the showrunner to mine for stories. It's not just about being likable or the writing.

This is more helpful than 90% of the stuff I've read. Thanks.

Bunker
03-02-2015, 01:57 PM
The trick to staffing meetings (as well as any interview in any field) is to remember what the interviewer is looking for. And in this case, sure they're looking for someone they can stand to be in a story session with at 2am, but they're NOT looking for a best friend.

I think that's where the "act sane" note stems from. Writers burst into the room, desperately trying to be memorable and liked. They try to tell jokes, form vague connections, and generally attempt to prove that they're the life of the party (a role which many writers aren't comfortable with in the first place).

But is that what a show runner wants? Are they looking for the life of the party?

No.

They're looking for a PROFESSIONAL.

-Has this writer studied story, structure, and character enough that they can intelligently contribute in the room?

-Will this writer meet all their deadlines, while also producing quality work?

-Will this writer be able to articulately defend their work, while also being open to criticism?

-Can this writer articulately criticize other people's work in ways that move the process forward, instead of stalling it?

-Does this writer provide life experience, knowledge, or skill that can enhance the series? Have they shown a willingness and thoroughness with regards to researching such life experience?

At the end of the day: Is this writer a professional whom the show-runner doesn't need to worry about or babysit?

The problem is that show-runners aren't professional interviewers. They're not always adept at bringing the conversations back around to the writers' skill set. As a result, these interviews can spiral into lengthy BS sessions. It's tough, but you have to read the waters and be ready to steer the conversation yourself. Remember, you're there to interview for a PROFESSIONAL WRITING JOB, so make sure that your professional writing skills are the focus of the conversation. Don't spend 30 minutes of a 45 minute meeting talking about the Lakers because you think you're forming a connection.

Yes, you need to also be personable. But your primary goal is to prove that you are articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, experienced, open-to-learning, hard working, innately-skilled, and resourceful with regards to WRITING.

finalact4
03-08-2015, 08:33 AM
The trick to staffing meetings (as well as any interview in any field) is to remember what the interviewer is looking for. And in this case, sure they're looking for someone they can stand to be in a story session with at 2am, but they're NOT looking for a best friend.

I think that's where the "act sane" note stems from. Writers burst into the room, desperately trying to be memorable and liked. They try to tell jokes, form vague connections, and generally attempt to prove that they're the life of the party (a role which many writers aren't comfortable with in the first place).

But is that what a show runner wants? Are they looking for the life of the party?

No.

They're looking for a PROFESSIONAL.

-Has this writer studied story, structure, and character enough that they can intelligently contribute in the room?

-Will this writer meet all their deadlines, while also producing quality work?

-Will this writer be able to articulately defend their work, while also being open to criticism?

-Can this writer articulately criticize other people's work in ways that move the process forward, instead of stalling it?

-Does this writer provide life experience, knowledge, or skill that can enhance the series? Have they shown a willingness and thoroughness with regards to researching such life experience?

At the end of the day: Is this writer a professional whom the show-runner doesn't need to worry about or babysit?

The problem is that show-runners aren't professional interviewers. They're not always adept at bringing the conversations back around to the writers' skill set. As a result, these interviews can spiral into lengthy BS sessions. It's tough, but you have to read the waters and be ready to steer the conversation yourself. Remember, you're there to interview for a PROFESSIONAL WRITING JOB, so make sure that your professional writing skills are the focus of the conversation. Don't spend 30 minutes of a 45 minute meeting talking about the Lakers because you think you're forming a connection.

Yes, you need to also be personable. But your primary goal is to prove that you are articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, experienced, open-to-learning, hard working, innately-skilled, and resourceful with regards to WRITING.

This is really great advice. Thanks for posting it.
FA4